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Light from Above Important for Health

Natural Light Offers Many Benefits -- Especially For Seniors

(ARA) - It may come as a surprise to seniors that as they age, their eye lenses thicken and their pupils shrink. This causes their eyes to adapt more slowly to changing light conditions.

According to organizations including the Center of Design For An Aging Society and the National Foundation for the Blind, older people need more light (about 3 to 5 times more than younger people) for both vision and maintaining their health. Other issues related to the aging eye, the foundation says, include difficulty with light/dark adaptation, reduced sensitivity to color perception and contrast and reduced depth perception.

Part of the solution is light from above. More softer, natural light equals better sight.

Home Planning and Construction Considerations

Sunlight enters our homes through doors, windows, roof windows, skylights, and sun tunnels. According to Joe Patrick, of Velux America, skylights admit 30 percent more light than vertical windows in dormers, and provide the drama of a sky view that can't be achieved with vertical windows. "Skylights also offer much more privacy than vertical windows without taking up valuable wall space that can be used for decorating or storage, especially in bathrooms," Patrick says.

"And from an economic standpoint," he points out, "finished attics and bonus rooms in homes, for instance, typically appraise at 100 percent of the value of the rest of the living space while basements typically do not. Light from above transforms underutilized upstairs areas into bright, safer spaces, providing a dose of the medicine that daylight and fresh air offer, while enhancing property values," he adds.

Other Health Issues

Many seniors don't get outside enough, so there are even more reasons to consider bringing more light in. We need vitamin D for calcium to be absorbed by the body to strengthen teeth, bones and tissue to maintain a healthy skeleton throughout life.

Two sources of vitamin D are diet and sunlight. In healthy human bodies, 80 percent of vitamin D is produced in the skin when it is exposed to natural light. A vitamin D deficiency could contribute to the brittle-bone disease osteoporosis, a major issue for women today.

Sunlight and SAD

The benefits of having abundant daylight in our homes aren't just physical. Studies show that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), evidenced by emotional depression, a drop in physical energy, increased appetite, and need for more sleep, is directly linked to a lack of sufficient daylight.

Some researchers are concluding that light therapy may help to alleviate SAD symptoms faster than antidepressant drugs. In a recent review of clinical trials of light therapy, Dr. Daniel Kripke and his colleagues at the Circadian Pacemaker Laboratory at the University of California, San Diego reported that light therapy benefits not only SAD patients but also people suffering from other forms of depression.

For more information on the benefits of natural light and skylight selection call (800) 283-2831, visit www.veluxusa.com, or write Velux America Inc., P.O. Box 308, Budd Lake, NJ 07828. For government information on window and skylight energy efficiency visit www.energystar.gov, and for independent agency information visit www.nfrc.org or www.efficientwindows.org.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Authors Website: http://www.aracontent.com/

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